Minervas, Sioux Falls

If you ever find yourself hungry in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, please try Minervas on Phillips Ave.. It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise to fulfil my hunger this summer when traveling back to Toronto from the Rockies.

I tried the Balsamic Steak Tips which consisted of sautéed steak tips, caramelized onions & mushrooms, balsamic glaze drizzle, and roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Deeeeelicious!!

What a great meal! Not sure if I will ever return to Sioux Falls, but if I do, I know where I am eating!

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Fantasy Friday VI – India

This weekend, I have the honour of being the maid-of-honour in an Indian wedding. After 2 sari changes and 3 days of festivities, I really cannot wait to visit India. Filled with so much culture, colour, and cuisine! Here is my fantasy for the week for India:

Culture: I love the henna, the stories about the gods, and the dances, go Bollywood!!

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Colour: Wow, the vibrancy. If I could wear a sari every day, I would. But maybe I shouldn’t say that until I actually wear 2 tomorrow. I am not sure how long it will take to put them on!

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Cuisine: I love love LOVE Indian food. The spicier the better. One of my favorites is mulligatawny soup. Aroma Restaurant in Toronto helps me out nicely with my cravings.

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I am very excited for this celebration tomorrow, and will post a picture of me in my sari, daydreaming about one day travelling to India.

Savour Savini and Portofino

Two great restaurants in Quebec City to try out. Both Italian! I also ordered pizza at both. Sorry for the lack of variety!

Savini

The cab driver on the way in from the airport recommended this one. We walked by a few times and it always seemed so busy! Reservations were made for that evening and we were not disappointed.

I ordered the Prosciutto melone to begin, trying to take myself back to the first time I tried it in Italy. Good…but not quite the great magnificence I remember. For my pizza, I devoured the Salsiccia. Great, I would try it again! I also tasted the pasta with duck conofite. Very different, and lovely flavours…not a duck person though. The caesar salad is outstanding though, as I also snuck in a forkful of that from my neighbour.

Portofino

Off a side street, a bit lower-key than Savinin, it was recommended by a companion we met that lived near the city. I felt like I was truly in Italy when I visited this place for lunch. PS – They have some of their signature recipes on their website, just in case you try something you love and want to test your cooking expertise among the experts at this restaurant.

For lunch, I ordered Pizza diavolo. Drooooool. Better than Savini, and I watched them make it and place it so lovingly in their fire to cook it. One of my eating partners ordered the calazone and she absolutely loved it!

Restaurant Review – Q City

Gambrinus - GO!

My visit in Quebec City was more than I hoped for. It was the best weather to travel in, to start with (20 degrees, sunny). It had so many great aspects going for it, where can I start? But I need to talk about this restaurant I visited to begin with…so this was probably the best part of this quick trip…

Background: I was in Quebec City in November for a long weekend, and my boyfriend who is amazing at ‘sniffing’ out a great restaurant, discovered this menu when we started to feel our hunger pang come to life on that cold evening. I said, no way, it’s so close to the Chateau Frontenac and the touristy areas, I can’t do it…but then we walked up and down, around, and back again to this original restaurant. I was still not feeling it (ps – this menu tour took about one hour), but I was still a taste-bud novice. I needed to trust his outstanding palate.

So we went to this place – Gambrinus (the online menu is not what you get when you go, just so you know). Then with my new travel partners, I had to show off my amazing find, right? Ok, I did tell them it was not my find. Had to give credit where it was deserved.

Should I recommend anything if you go there? I could, but just ask the waiters/waitresses (I saw the same waiters both times I went). They are the owners, they know what to do, they know their food, they know their people.

Just to make you drool…

This is what I tasted:

1. Soupe a l’oignon (French Onion soup) – YUM, this is why I wrote my French Onion soup post.

2. My main – Salmon tartate – can I swear *%$#@ on this? Those flavours – spectacular! No words, just try…slowly… enjoy it.

3. Shrimp and scallop in mustard sauce with greens. WOW, why didn’t I order this? Oh yes, because I am not the biggest scallops fan. But the sauce, the gigantic shrimp, the side of veggies. Daaaaaamn.

4. The steak (arg, filet mignon if I recall? I don’t usually eat meat…but I tried). My companion declared that this was the best steak he has tasted in “a long time”.

5. Rack o’ Lamb – can I say the same thing about the meat part from #4…I loved what I tasted, but I would never order it. Those who have (two times to date), have said it was one of the best lamb dishes they have ever taste.

6. Wine – the list is amazing. I went for the first time with my man, who enjoys wine and we had one of the best wines I have tasted EVER that night. It was an Amarone, the name escapes me…it looked like a bottle you would find if you were a pirate. Hah! I hope that helps. The second time, and more recently, it was a Masi red. Good for the price, but still am daydreaming about that Amarone.

7. DESSERT – I needed to bold that becaue I know so many people love dessert. I, personally love salt… appetizers and the mains. BUT…what was ordered and tasted by MOI. Chocolate mousse. AMAZING (I am allergic and I had a few scoops of it still, that’s saying a lot!). And Maple pie. Yikes, it was great. But only for the sweet tooth. Geez, is it sweet! My companions, though, wanted to order a second piece.

Just go, please? Don’t fool around with those other places. I have tried a lot of them. You will be satisfied, but not WOW’ed. The next great restaurant I will talk about, at a later time, is Savini. Stay tuned!

There’s an app for that…

My apps

I am one of those people that do not know north from south, and can get lost within 5 minutes of walking. My favorite game when I was visiting cities around Italy last summer was to just start wandering with my travel partner (she was just like me with directions), and get lost. We ended up discovering some amazing streets, and then randomly enter a piazza beside, lets say, the Colosseum!

Although that was quite a fun game, sometimes when I am away and I really needs some guidance, that’s where my beloved apps swoop in to save the day.

Following is a list of some of my most used iPhone app to aid in the love of my travel.

1. Around Me – to find everything around me

2. Poynt – to find things to do around me

3. Air Canada – to log into my flight

4. Urbanspoon – to find great restaurants wherever I am

5. Now Restaurants – to find great restaurants in Toronto

6. OpenTable – to make reservations

7. Kayak – to find the lowest prices

8. Word Lens – to translate

9. Jetsetter – to search for deals

10. Paris Fotopedia – to daydream